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Posts Tagged ‘Kenya’

Maybe it’s because I’m not feeling well this week that the news seems to be all snotty and headache-inducing. Does my miserable cold rule the world, or does the miserable world make my cold feel worse? Mox nix, as the truly jaded would suggest … or those with as nasty a bug as I’ve been full-frontally assaulted by.

Anyway, let’s start in Kenya, shall we? My neck of the woods, and all …

OMG! How few fractions of a millimeter under the surface has all this tribalism hatred been bubbling away? Not many, apparently.

For any not following, all hell has broken loose in “Africa’s greatest democracy” … as if that title ever meant anything other than “Well, there’s an African nation that knows what hoops are for!” … and looks to continue to spiral hellward for some time to come.

No worries, though, for in the usual style of the ways of the world, help is now at hand. Okay, it’s in the form of Kofi Annan, one of the more useless individuals on the planet, but he is there, and apparently has already figured out that things will need at least a year of yacking at before any calming down can commence. Wonder how many dead Kenyans they can chalk up in the amount of time it will take him to admit that nothing can be done without some real consequence from outside …

Yes, this is the same Kofi Annan that managed so well to get the Darfur situation under control.

Whose idea was it to bring HIM into this?

For a look at the Darfur mess through the UN PR spin machine, here’s the “News Center”. Look around and see if one positive thing the organization has done in Sudan presents itself, then understand just what a mess Kenya is in.

Not alone, of course, as checking out this story on a kidney-selling ring in India well proves.

When a place is so poor that stealing the kidneys from people becomes a common enough, if reprehensible, way to make a living, what possible hope is there that something like adoption could be protected. After all, people only have two kidneys, but children? Hey … those come by the dozen with hardly any effort at all.

This is the sort of reality people must accept when they go all misty-eyed over supporting children in birth countries rather than allowing adoption and insisting that everything can be made better enough soon enough to make a enough of a difference to children who are children now.

India is just getting around to thinking about regulation of legal organ donations, and this one “doctor” they’re after has been known to be a kidney thief for 15 years. How long do you figure implementation will take? And where on the list does this rank against female infanticide, child selling, trafficking, etc? (Keep in mind that it’s a lot of men getting their kidneys snatched. That makes it a bigger deal in some circles than if the same happened to women.)

Of course, horror isn’t reserved for other countries. The US gets it’s share, but in more individual doses, which seems better unless you happen to be up-close-and-personal with whatever the horror seems to be.

This one, a graphic example of one family gone to the dogs is about as disgusting as it gets, and from all the way around.

WASHINGTON, Pa. — A woman in southwestern Pennsylvania locked her 10-year-old grandson in a feces-filled dog crate for about 90 minutes because he told his family he had been spiking their drinks with lamp oil and household cleaner, police said.

Rhonda Lehman, 51, also called Washington County’s Mental Health/Mental Retardation office and said if someone wouldn’t come for the boy, she would bury him alive in the back yard, police said.

Apparently the family … mom’s in jail, by the way … doesn’t see anything wrong with any of this; all par for the course, I suppose.

And if you’re wondering about the dogs that are obviously kept in the crate when the boy is out and busy poisoning his relatives … well, that issue isn’t addressed in the report, but I’m thinking it’s not pretty.

(I’m not even going near the story about the Texas father who apparently threw his baby out the window of his car.)

Sometimes, however, animal abuse gets quicker action that bad things happening to kids. This story, for example where two slaughterhouse workers have been fired for mistreating cattle on the way to their death as a hope of getting around some very important health requirements related to the meat people eat.

The abuse, shown in videotapes shot with a concealed camera by an employee who was working undercover for the Humane Society of the United States, included zealous use of electric prods to get ailing animals on their feet; chains to drag live cows down a ramp toward the killing room; and repeated jabs with the prongs of a forklift, which was also used to roll ailing animals along the ground.

What the hell is wrong with people?

I’m going to back to bed.

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How many mornings start off with a sense of despair as I open my computer to learn what has happened around the planet as I slept the night away peacefully in the bosom of my beautiful little family? Far too many.

The world is for more people than not a terrible place of unimaginable pain and suffering where each day brings yet another hurdle to jump or cross to bear … one after the other until there is no more jumping or bearing to do.

The headlines give indication of misery enough, but my mind always wanders a bit further down the road and often ends up dwelling on whatever impact the attention-grabbing event that leads a report has on the children caught somewhere way down the story and living the consequences of religious fanaticism, ethnic intolerance, political unrest, greed, corruption and all the other horrors self-imposed by the human race upon itself.

Occasionally, a news item addresses the effects on innocents directly, as was the case in this article. Although designed by the United Nations propaganda machine for self-perpetuation and circulated through IRIN, the UN’s “humanitarian news and analysis” branch of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the report does manage to pass along information without too blatant a tooting of its own horn … mainly because there is absolutely NO reason to credit the organization with anything positive under this circumstance … or make a begging plea for additions to its bulging coffers.

The story is on how the unrest in Kenya is impacting the vulnerable in the country, widows and orphans.

When the violence broke out immediately after the election, at least two of the people we support were killed by rowdy youths in their homes. One of our widows was attacked and her home was torn down to the ground; she was very lucky to escape alive. One child-headed household had their home invaded – they were chased away and when they came back everything had been stolen.

This, of course, is one tiny example in a country where millions are at risk any time the boat is even slightly rocked, so precarious is the semblance of stability.

Kenya has long been held up as a positive example of democracy in Africa, a model for other countries more obviously in danger of a rapid downward spiral into chaos. But Kenya has been corrupt as hell for years, and no one with the slightest knowledge of the place could pretend not to notice that the average Kenyan has been getting screwed by their government for decades while the powerful are creaming off the top and living like royalty.

With Zimbabwe just down the road a piece getting a complete pass from the “global community” on everything from its flagrant violations of human rights to blatant corruption, where could impetus possibly come for rising above?

Does the world care? Face it, folks, the answer to that is: Not really.

Pretending otherwise appears to be an unhelpful practice that works pretty well to keep the levels of hell stable for the majority while the minority takes expensive vacations.

Think about this …

At the moment, the population of the USA is somewhere around just over 300 million. Although numbers are hard to come by, USAID estimates that by 2010 25 million children in the world will have been orphaned by AIDS alone (Some suspect this number is a low guess, with estimates up to 200 million circulating.), and although that pandemic does take a hefty toll, added to numbers of children losing parents to other diseases, alcoholism and drug abuse, grinding poverty, famine, violent conflict, the total global population of children forced to fend for themselves could easily approach the number of people living in the United States in any given year.

Orphans, of course, aren’t the only people suffering … billions of children with parents suffer alongside their mothers and fathers … yet no small number of humans blithely go through their lives under the illusion that life is relatively fair … and is meant to be so … and that for the most part justice somehow prevails. Decisions on everything from product purchases to elected official to laws addressing adoption tend to be based on the false sense that happiness is a logical consequence of life for everyone finding the wherewithal their own bootstraps should provide, so consequences are slow to come to those living off the backs of the downtrodden … and that is often not only an expression, but a reality … and remedies too often have more to do with alleviating the little guilt that comes with plenty than actually addressing the real issues others face every day.

Forcing ourselves to wake up and smell the toast is a first step to taking the problems on full frontally, as we will never come to grips with something we have refused to see in all its naked ugliness.

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A weekend on Bird Island with friends from Kenya provided one opportunity after another to get all of us, kids included, thinking in terms of wildlife large and small.

Our visit to their neck of the woods last year took us to Tsavo National Park where we watched herds of elephants pick gigantic bouquets (trunkgays?) from vast fields of end-of-rainy-season blooms as baby giraffes clumsily cavorted under the far-distant noses of attentive mothers.

The whole of Bird Island being about the same size as the grounds of the Kilaguni Lodge, our Tsavo home-from-home, had to bring a completely different experience.

The ten-year-old in our midst was instantly taken with the tag-team of common noddies that found his family’s chalet the perfect perching point, so didn’t seem to miss at all the much larger mammalian fauna of home.

My kids are well acquainted with the local varieties of feathered friends, but with more than a million sooty terns calling Bird home for the breeding season, even two-year-old Cj was impressed, spending a good portion the first day on the island astonished by almost every single one of those more-than-a-million.

“Mommy! Mommy!” she’d shout, “Birdy … LOOK!”

Darned cute for the first, what? … eighty-five times? Just a tad tedious from then on. Thankfully, she developed an immunity by Day Two and spent more time trying to avoid stepping in bird poop.

“Yucky, Mommy!”

Sam, at almost five, was in his element with the freedom a small island gives a small boy, warm and calm seas, birds and lizards and giant tortoises everywhere, and full use of Mom’s digital camera to record all the wonders. His shot of a baby fairy tern earned him our combined families’ unofficial, but so prestigious “David Attenborough Award” that came in the shape of a bowl of coconut ice cream. Baby Fairy Tern

By mutual agreement it was decided that Bird Island’s “Big Five” must-see counterpart to Kenya’s list — lion, leopard, buffalo, giraffe and elephant — would boil down to: dolphin, whale, whale shark, ray and sea turtle. (Land creatures on Bird being habituated to humans and far too easy to ‘spot’, the challenge had to come from the sea.)

One morning out on a boat produced fine viewing of three out of the five … the whales and whale sharks not cooperating, apparently … so everyone was happy as a clam (also not seen).

We’ll be doing this again.

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